Knee injury slightly sours memorable 1,000-winner landmark for jockey Thornton

ANDREW THORNTON: Reached the milestone with five days to spare.
ANDREW THORNTON: Reached the milestone with five days to spare.
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ANDREW Thornton will have hospital scans today after twisting his right knee moments after recording his landmark 1,000th career winner at Wincanton.

The elated 44-year-old was talking to connections in the unsaddling enclosure when the knee gave way.

“You couldn’t make it up,” he said.

“I’ll go and see the surgeon today and see how bad the injury is.”

After recording his 998th winner at Bangor on Thursday on Barton Gift in the colours of legendary trainer Mercy Rimell, the long trip to the West country paid off when the Seamus Mullins-trained Somchine took the two-mile handicap chase.

Thornton had fortune on his side as Kentford Myth carried him to the 1,000th winner.

He was gifted the lead three out when the clear leader Antarctic De Thaix fell, the six-year-old pulling clear to beat Mollyanna who was the only other finisher.

“It’s enjoyable,” added Thornton whose knee injury meant he missed the subsequent three-mile chase which was voided when eight horses came to grief at a single fence.

“It’s not a relief. Far from it. I’ve really enjoyed it and it couldn’t have turned out any better.

“I was delighted to have a winner for Mrs Rimell, who has been such a great supporter, and then two for Seamus – we both go back a long way.

“Three winners in seven days, just like the summer, you never know when your luck is in.”

That sentiment was shared by Mullins who offered this tribute: “It’s a marvellous achievement for him.

“It is so nice that he did it on one of my horses and for my longest-standing owner, Ian Bare, as well. The three of us go back about 20 years or so.

“It was an up and down day. I lost a nice horse in the previous race, Western Cape, then Andrew rides his 1,000th winner and when he jumped off he twisted his knee and was stood down for the rest of the day.”

Thornton’s first win came 25 years ago at Sedgefield courtesy of Wrekin Hill.

Married to florist Yvonne Dennis, and based in Rainton, near Ripon, he won the 1997 King George VI Chase on See More Business before landing the following year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup on Cool Dawn.

Irish trainer Willie Mullins has a potential new superstar after Min boosted his reputation with a sparkling performance in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Cheltenham’s Arkle Trophy looks tailor-made.

“He left the rest of them for dead,” said Mullins.